Gordon-Conwell participates in the William D. Ford Direct Student Loan Program for Federal Direct Loan. Gordon-Conwell also participates in the Federal Perkins Loan Program. A complete financial aid application is required in order to receive assistance from these loan programs. To receive federal student loan funds, a student must be enrolled as a candidate in a Gordon-Conwell degree program and be registered for more than one course within a semester. Students registered in a semester for less than 4 credits are not eligible for a loan. A student is eligible for federal student loan funds and deferment of prior loans only for the number of courses required to complete the degree program - 30 for the Master of Divinity, 20 for the various Master of Arts degree programs and 10 for the Master of Theology (Th.M.) program.
- SAP: Satisfactory Academic Progress
- Student Loan Indebtedness Policy
- Federal Direct Loan Program
- Federal Graduate PLUS Loan
- Federal Perkins Loan Program
- Federal Student Loan Repayment and Consolidation
- Student Loan Debt History
The Department of Education has made changes to the SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) regulation and the Financial Aid Office has been working through the changes to ensure that we, as an institution, remain in compliance with the regulation. This policy applies only to students who receive Federal Student Loans. The policy requires the Financial Aid office to review cumulative GPA and the rate of completion for student loan borrowers.
- The first requirement is that a student is at or above the minimum required for their particular degree program.
- The second requirement for SAP is the Pace in which the student is working toward their degree. This calculation takes into account the number of credits for courses you have attempted and the number of credits for courses you successfully completed defined as courses that have received a passing grade (D- and above or "P"assing).
The rate of completion must be 67% or more for a student to receive a loan. If a student’s rate is not 67% or more and/or the GPA minimum earned for their degree is not met, then a Federal Student loan will either not be processed or will need to be cancelled until the acceptable rate and/or GPA to receive Federal student loans is achieved.
If a student borrower does not pass the SAP requirement, a letter is emailed to the student informing him/her. There is an SAP appeal process and you may read more in the student handbook for the details concerning the requirements of the appeal process. If your appeal is granted, then your loan eligibility will be reinstated and we will be able to process loans for you for the semester.
The Seminary sets a limit of $40,000 for individual student educational indebtedness, including debt incurred at previous schools you have attended. If a student New or Returning is nearing or has exceeded a Federal Student Loan debt of $40,000, they are sent a notice stating they must write a letter to the Debt Committee that reviews their plan for further borrowing and plans to make future repayment in light of salary expectations. The Financial Aid Debt Committee will evaluate all future borrowing requests which would take an individual above this $40,000 limit. (Note: this limit is extended to $45,000 if the student is graduating within the academic year.) Most requests are approved; however, your request for loan funds may be denied if the Debt Committee does not see that you are taking the responsibility to repay with serious consideration.
Students applying for financial assistance meet a substantial portion of their need through the Federal Stafford Loan Program. The annual maximum award amount is $20,500. As of July 1, 2012, there is only one type of Federal Stafford Loans available for Graduate level students: Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford loan.
Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan
- Annual Maximum Amount: A student may be eligible for up to a maximum of $20,500 in unsubsidized loan provided the student is attending at least half-time (4 credits or more), is in a degree program, not on Academic Probation two consecutive semesters and the amount of loan does not exceed the cost of attendance less any scholarships/grants/gifts.
Federal Stafford Loan Interest Rate: The interest rate for Federal Stafford Loans for the 2013-2014 school year is a fixed 5.41%. A lender fee of 1.072% will be deducted from the loan amount prior to disbursement.
- The interest accrues while you are enrolled in school and during the grace period. The interest rate for 2013-2014 loans is fixed at 5.41% for the life of the loan. Students have the option to pay the interest monthly while in school (recommended) or let the interest capitalize on top of the principle (thus, each month the principle grows with interest added).
- Repayment: Repayment begins six months after graduation, after withdrawal or after enrollment drops below half-time. The standard repayment term is ten years, but other options may be available if loans are consolidated.
Do I need to sign a Federal Stafford Direct Loan Promissory Note (MPN)?
- If you are new and/or applying for Federal Student Loans for the first time at GCTS, then you will need to complete a new Direct Stafford Loan master promissory note online. You will need your FAFSA pin number to access your account at this website.
Am I required to complete a Stafford Entrance Counseling tutorial online?
- If you are new and/or applying for Federal Student Loans for the first time at GCTS, then you will need to complete a Stafford Entrance Counseling tutorial online. You will need your FAFSA pin number to access your account at this website. Once you have completed this tutorial, please send a copy of the confirmation page to the Financial Aid office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Am I required to complete a Stafford EXIT Counseling tutorial online?
- When a GCTS student Federal loan borrower has dropped below half-time status, withdrawn, takes a leave of absence or graduates, the Federal Government regulates that they must complete an online Stafford Exit Counseling tutorial. GCTS takes compliance with this regulation seriously and will not honor official transcript requests or give out a diploma until this requirement is completed. Click here for Online Exit Counseling.
Much like the Stafford Loan, the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan borrows through the Federal Direct Loan Program. To borrow through this loan program, the student must be eligible for federal aid and must pass a basic credit check, performed by the Department of Education, who is the lender. Students apply annually. Visit www.studentloans.gov to apply.
- Annual Maximum Amount: Students may borrow up to the cost of attendance, excluding other financial aid.
- Interest: For the 2013-2014 school year, the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan has a fixed interest rate of 6.41%. A lender fee of 4.288% will be deducted from the loan amount prior to disbursement. Interest begins to accrue upon disbursement of the loan.
- Repayment: Repayment begins within 60 days of the final disbursement of the loan; however, students enrolled at least half-time may defer payments while in school. The standard repayment term is 10-25 years depending on the loan amount but may be extended through loan consolidation. As a federal loan, the Graduate PLUS Loan is eligible for federal loan consolidation.
Do I need to sign a Federal GradPlus Direct Loan Promissory Note (MPN)?
You will need to complete a new GradPlus Direct Stafford Loan master promissory note online. You will need your FAFSA pin number to access your account at the following website: www.studentloans.gov.
Am I required to complete a GradPlus Entrance Counseling tutorial online?
- If you have already completed an online Entrance Counseling tutorial for the Federal Stafford Direct Loan, you are not required to complete another for the GradPlus. If, however, you are applying for Federal Student Loans for the first time at GCTS, then you will need to complete a GradPlus Entrance Counseling tutorial online. You will need your FAFSA pin number to access your account at the following website: www.studentloans.gov. Once you have completed this tutorial, please send a copy of the confirmation page to the Financial Aid office at email@example.com
The Federal Perkins Loan Program is a low interest loan. Gordon-Conwell has been authorized by the Federal government to award a small, limited amount of loan funds to students with outstanding need. Students newly awarded a Perkins loan at GCTS will be required to sign a Perkins Master Promissory Note (MPN) on campus at the Student Financial Services office. A form will be sent to the student who has accepted the Perkins loan award. This form will be email to the student within 3 weeks after the Fall semester starts. Students are required to bring this form and a valid license to sign the MPN.
- Cumulative Maximum Amount: Loans will generally range from $1,000 to $4,000 for the academic year. The cumulative maximum amount a student may borrow is $40,000, which includes any Perkins loans in an undergraduate program.
- Interest: 5%; Interest does not accrue during enrollment, or during periods of authorized deferment.
- Repayment: Repayment of interest and principal begins nine months after graduation, withdrawal or reduction of registered hours to less than six. Repayment may take up to ten years, but a minimum payment of $40 per month is required. Cancellation provisions exist for certain types of public service occupations.
Information about federal loan consolidation and an application for consolidation may be found at loanconsolidation.ed.gov. The standard repayment plan and other federal repayment plan options may be viewed at studentaid.ed.gov. You may login to nslds.ed.gov to view your student loan history and loan servicers. You must make payments directly to your loan servicer. You are responsible for staying in touch with your servicer and for making payments, even if you do not receive a bill. Additional information about basic repayment procedures, repayment plans, and loan consolidation, has been compiled on our Federal Student Loan Repayment Handout.
If you had a previous loan during your undergraduate education or have a current loan in graduate school, then you can find out who services your student loans and how to contact them online. Click the NSDLS logo below to access the National Student Loan Data System. You will need your FAFSA pin number to access your student loan debt information.